Wesley and Colleen Beyer Stewart's concept features James Brown, Lucy Craft Laney and Jessye Norman. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Wesley and Colleen Beyer Stewart's concept features James Brown, Lucy Craft Laney and Jessye Norman. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Artists present their ideas for Gateway Sculpture

Drawing inspiration from nature, history and music, artists created four different sculptures that would greet guests coming into Augusta via Sand Bar Ferry Road.

Gregory Johnson’s magnolias. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

 On March 19, Eric Randall Morris from ASD|SKY, Wesley and Colleen Beyer Stewart of September Art Studios in association with Metal Specialists of Augusta, Inc., Marc Moulton and Pam Reynolds from Outdoor Art Sculpture and Gregory Johnson from Gregory Johnson Fine Art presented maquettes and gave some insight into their visions at the Linda Beazley room at the Municipal Building.

Johnson opened the presentations with his sculpture dominated by nine, 20-foot-tall magnolias, made from stainless steel. They would be illuminated at night with a soft yellow uplighting.

“It’s meant to be uplifting,” he said. “It takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary.”

 The Cumming, Ga. artist has created 1,400 sculptures in 45 states and seven countries.

 Marc Moulton and Pam Reynolds have a concept that will include some input from the community.

Marc Moulton and Pam Reynolds’ design. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Called “Tempo,” the sculpture features aluminum plated ribbons standing 28 feet tall. There are additional outlying pieces that will make the entire work 100 feet wide and 16 feet deep.

“It’s to create a sense of movement over time,” said Moulton. “It’s designed to bring power, creativity and joy together in one moment.”

The local input would come in the creation of the outer ribbons which will be mosaics.

“People in the community are welcome to help us contribute to the designs that go on the ribbon,” said Reynolds.

Local sculptors Wesley and Colleen Stewart fashioned a design that incorporates some familiar faces in Augusta’s history.

Central to their sculpture are images of Lucy Craft Laney, as a young woman and as an older woman. Also in their rendering are James Brown and Jessye Norman as a tribute to their musical legacies.

Wesley and Colleen Beyer Stewart’s concept features James Brown, Lucy Craft Laney and Jessye Norman. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Its form is “loosely based on agamograph, a kinetic art form” that gives the viewer multiple viewpoints, said Colleen Stewart.

 The shape of the design is a nod to a schoolhouse as Laney was an educator and Norman has a school in her name as well. Its tallest point is 30 feet high.

The flowers in the design are based on the flowers the couple found in the garden at Laney’s home, now the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.

The final design was inspired by Marjorie Joyner, who invented the permanent wave machine, according to Eric Morris.

“That concept is a driving force. Also, Augusta is a city on the river, the beautiful river meandering through the city. It’s really a beautiful concept we wanted to emulate throughout,” Morris said.

Eric Morris presents The Wave. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Called “The Wave,” it would feature flowing ribbons of stainless steel covered in aluminum panels, which would be engraved or decorated with artwork from local artists.

Morris said they’d rely on the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s expertise to help choose artists for the project.

There would be an internal illumination to highlight the work, he said.

People can view the maquettes at the municipal building and vote on their favorites either at the municipal building or online the arts council’s website from March 20 to April 3.

The final selection will go before a vote of the Augusta Commission. That date hasn’t been determined.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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